10/02/95 © HyperLaw, Inc.®
HyperLaw, Inc. Federal Appeals on Disc 1995
FEDERAL APPEALS ON DISC
WHAT IS FEDERAL APPEALS ON DISC?
- Federal Appeals on Disc contains the published, and for some circuits, unpublished, opinions
of the thirteen judicial circuits of the United States Courts of Appeals from 1993 to date, as well as U.S.
Supreme Court opinions and orders from 1990 to date and the 1993 edition of the U.S. Code. The first release was in 1993 when the product was introducted at the American Association of Law Libraries national meeting in Boston.
THE COURTS OF APPEALS
- Each of the thirteen circuits of the Federal Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over the district courts within the circuit, except for the Federal Circuit which hears appeals from all district courts in patent cases, from the Court of Claims, the Merit System Protection Board and other federal agencies. In turn, appeals from these courts go to the United States Supreme Court. In general, the Supreme Court accepts appeals when there is a conflict among the circuit courts.
- No study or analysis of the American judicial or political scene is complete without understanding how the Courts of Appeals deal with the highly important issues -- voting rights, affirmative action, prisoners' rights, abortion, and religious and political first amendment issues. These are always first thrashed out in the appellate court, go to the Supreme Court, and then are parsed again in the appellate courts.
- And, of course, every lawyer deals with federal law on a daily basis. For example, a lawyer can no longer ignore expanding federal jurisdiction in criminal and employment law.
RESEARCH CIRCUITS OTHER THAN YOUR OWN?
- Within the district courts in a circuit, the opinions of that circuit take precedence over those of other circuits. However, this does not mean that the law of another circuit is not of great significance. Circuit courts frequently cite the law of other circuits as precedent. Where there is a conflict, that conflict may indicate the possibility of appeal to the Supreme Court. Moreover, most federal appellate judges have a desire to harmonize the law among the circuits, so that a litigant is treated the same regardless of the circuit in which the case is heard.
- It is important to note that appellate court precedents are binding for the district courts within the circuit. District courts within other circuits may and do cite as precedent opinions from other circuits.
- Some circuits have developed expertise in different areas of law. For example, the Second and Ninth Circuits are recognized as having expertise in intellectual property law.
- We believe that restricting research to a particular circuit is highly dangerous and, in many situations, could be malpractice. An EEOC case in the Third Circuit relating to "resume fraud" is an important case in all circuits, not just the three states and one territory that constitute the Third Circuit. Such a case would be of particular importance if a circuit had never addressed the issue.
THE FEDERAL APPELLATE COURT & THE SUPREME COURT
- The federal appellate courts address many important issues. Many of the 180 or so federal appellate judges are considered authorities in particular fields. Their views are respected and carry
weight even at the Supreme Court. The intellectual and analytic experience and expertise of many of the appellate judges equal that of the Supreme Court Justices. After the Supreme Court decides an issue, it is often left to the Circuit Courts to fill in the gaps. In doing so, new issues of conflict arise which again reach the Supreme Court.
WHY OPINIONS MATTER
- The American judicial system is based upon precedent. Therefore, the opinion, that is the reasoning behind a decision is often as or more important than the decision itself.
- HyperLaw's Federal Appeals on Disc has the opinions from all the United States Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court. For the day to day litigator, the student of civics, law or political science, or the concerned citizen or community, these opinions are invaluable.
- The appellate opinions are of high quality and result from the combined research of the best lawyers, clerks, and judges. Each opinion strives to provide a definitive answer to the legal issues presented. Because of this, the opinions are great research tools, directing the researcher to other important relevant precedents. Indeed, the appellate opinions should be used at the beginning of research.
- HyperLaw also includes the first page citation from West's Federal Reporter helping the legal researcher locate the particular case needed. If you know only the docket number or the name of a party, again, HyperLaw's special search techniques will help you to locate the case immediately.
- And, once you know the case is there, you do not have to copy or print the case -- you can always retrieve it in seconds from the CD-ROM. Even those of you at large firms fortunate enough to have flat rates from Westlaw and Lexis still have to pay download charges. If you download the same case twice, you pay twice -- but, not with HyperLaw's CD-ROM.
TO SEE A MAP OF The Jurisdiction of the United States Courts of Appeals
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